Press Releases

 

“More than a planning tool, these maps are a lifesaver.”

This was stressed today by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje who on Monday reiterated anew his call for local government executives to give serious attention to the geohazard maps which the DENR has distributed to some 1,600 municipalities and cities and about 4,000 barangays nationwide.

“I implore on heads of local government units to take genuine interest in these geohazard maps we have provided them especially for those whose areas are in identified disaster-prone areas so they can take the necessary steps before, during and after calamity,” said Paje, adding that the 1:50,000-scale geohazard maps are a critical planning tool in the government’s risk reduction program.

Paje has earlier ordered the MGB last year to re-distribute the maps to LGUs following the May 2010 elections to ensure that all newly elected local officials. “The practice is we immediately furnish the local government units after completion of the maps. But after the elections in May last year, I directed the MGB to distribute the maps again to make sure that our local officials, particularly the new ones,” he said. Briefings were also conducted to local officials down to barangays.

Among other things, geo-hazard maps contain information as to the level of susceptibility of areas to flooding and landslide, including areas that could possibly be used as relocation or evacuation sites, in case of calamities.
Under Republic Act No. 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, LGUs are tasked to evacuate residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas and relocate them to safe areas in times of impending typhoon and other weather disturbances that could bring heavy rains.

The Act requires all provinces, cities, and municipalities to have a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) systems to have a greater responsibility in building the disaster preparedness of communities and institute disaster risk reduction within their jurisdictions.

“The maps are there to increase the LGU’s competence on hazards, vulnerability and risk assessment activities and enable them to establish their LDRRM system to effectively comply with RA 10121,” Paje stressed.

 

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today advised the public, particularly those who are still on a shopping spree for gifts, to avoid products that have no proper labeling.

At the same time, Paje urged consumers to report to concerned government agencies products suspected to contain toxic or hazardous chemicals for appropriate action.

Paje made the statement amid reports that some cheap toys from China that have found their way into the local street markets have high lead content that could cause adverse effect on health.

“As parents, we have to be mindful of the gifts we give to our children. Life may be difficult, but still it is no reason to patronize toys that are cheap but dangerous to their health,” Paje said.

He urged parents and adults to avoid toys and other products that are still in the market despite reports that these contain either toxic or hazardous substances.

“I advise parents and other gift-givers to be extra-careful, and be updated on news reports. The government, the media and some well-meaning non-government organizations never fail to inform the public of their findings. There is no more reason for us to fall victim to unscrupulous business practices,” he said.

According to him, the DENR is in close coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in ensuring that guidelines in product labeling for locally-manufactured toys and other consumer products are strictly followed.

He also announced that his agency is set to issue a directive that would regulate the importation and use of lead and lead compounds in the country.

“We will be issuing a chemical control order (CCO) for lead as soon as the Environmental Management Bureau EMB) finishes the public consultation process with various stakeholders, including affected small and medium enterprises, and inputs are collected and incorporated in the draft order,” Paje said.

The proposed CCO for lead and lead compounds will cover importation, distribution, manufacture and use of lead and lead compounds, as well as their storage, transport and disposal of wastes.

Lead is a heavy, bluish-gray metal either in the form of granules, shot, foil, sheet or powder. It is naturally occurring in the earth’s crust and is relatively poor as conductor of electricity. However, exposure to lead could be toxic to many organs and tissues, such as heart and kidneys and to the reproductive and nervous systems. Lead exposure among children could affect their learning ability and may cause behavioral disorders.

Childhood lead exposure can occur by way of ingestion of lead dust dislodged from deteriorated paint or leaded dust generated during remodeling or painting.

According to Paje, lead is used in the country as raw materials or additives in major industries, such as in the semiconductor sector, printing, smelting, recycling and soldering. Lead is also used in the manufacture of ammunitions, batteries, and paints and pigments.

He said that despite the presence of cheap alternatives, lead-based products such as paints are still widely used in bridges, ships, railways, lighthouses and other steel structures because it slows down rusting and corrosion of iron and steel.

Pending its issuance, Paje said the DENR is strictly monitoring registered industries, including paint manufacturers, to ensure compliance to earlier guidelines issued by the department such as DAO 2005-27 or the Revised Priority Chemical List (PCL) which requires all users, importers, and manufacturers of chemicals included in the list to comply with such requirements as submission of an Annual Report and Hazardous Wastes Registration Report.

  

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today awarded 15 companies which have shown exemplary environmental performance with the Seal of Approval under the agency’s Philippine Environment Partnership Program (PEPP). This brings to a total of 39 the number of companies recognized for their environmental performance since 2009.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, who led the awarding ceremonies at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City, said that PEPP is a program that supports the aspiration of industries toward self-regulation.

He also said that the program aims to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) among local industries, particularly those that consider environmental protection an important part of sound governance.

“With the PEPP, we wish to recognize and show our appreciation for companies that give premium to environmental protection as an integral business concern. Somehow they realize that to thrive in the global economy, they need to respond as well to environmental challenges,” he said.

The companies bestowed with the award, under “Track 1” category, for “going beyond simple compliance, and being driven by competitiveness, image and supply chain requirements to improve their performance” are the following:

Aboitiz Power – Hedcor, Inc. (Beckel, Benguet); PSI Technologies, Inc. (Taguig); Holcim Philippines – Bacnotan Plan (La Union); STMicroelectronic, inc. ( Calamba City , Laguna); KEP CO Ilijan Corporation Philippines (Ilijan, Batangas); Aboitiz Power Renewables, Inc. – Mak-Ban Geothermal Plant (Bay, Laguna); Aboitiz Power Renewables, Inc. – Tiwi Geothermal Plant (Tiwi, Albay); Energy Development Corporation (Kanangga, Leyte); Green Core Geothermal Inc. (Ormoc, Leyte); Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (Isabel, Leyte); Nestle Philippines, Inc. – CDO Factory (Tablon, Cagayan de Oro City); Holcim Philippines – Davao Plant (Ilang, Davao City); Alliance Select Foods International (Tambler, General Santos City); Southern Philippines Power (Alabel, Saranggani Province); and Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. – General Santos Plant (Bula, General Santos City).

Likewise, Absolut Distillers, Inc. was awarded a Special Citation for Environmental Excellence, for winning the Green Apple Award in London, England last November 14. The citation award was received by business tycoon Dr. Lucio Tan. Absolut Distillers was also one of PEPP Track I awardees in 2009.

The DENR Official Seal of Approval for Track 1 awardees is valid for one year. Industries that fall under this category should have had no cases filed against them with the Pollution Adjudication Board of the DENR for three years prior to their date of application; have fully complied with all applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations; and have a proven record of superior environmental performance.

As a reward, PEPP Track 1 recipients will benefit from relaxed requirements in the frequency of submission of reports, longer validity of permits, and simplified requirements for securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for expansion projects.

The PEPP covers all industrial and commercial establishments, both public and private, including agri-industrial facilities, manufacturing and commercial enterprises and other facility services.

  

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched Wednesday its second fully automatic air quality monitoring station in Valenzuela City to collect real-time pollution data in northern Metro Manila.

Leading the launch at the grounds of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) at Mayson Road in Malinta, Valenzuela were Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Juan Miguel Cuna, representing DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje; Valenzuela City Administrator Teresita Capacillo, representing Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian; and PLV President Nedeña Torralba.

Paje had earlier said that the station would be part of the agency’s continuing efforts to improve air quality especially in Metro Manila, where vehicles contribute to about 80 per cent of pollutants.

“As part of our clean air program, the data that this station will collect will be used as reference for crafting air quality management programs and policies especially by the local government unit,” he said.

Cuna, on the other hand, reiterated during the launching ceremony that the station is also capable of determining weather conditions that may affect the movement of air pollutants.

The equipment would provide air pollution data in a timely manner, as well as allow the use of the data in developing attainment and maintenance plans and for abatement measures, he added.

The Valenzuela station is the second to be launched out of four such stations purchased this year. The first was launched on November 15 at the De La Salle University in Taft Avenue to measure data in south Manila. The third is along Commonwealth Avenue, which would be launched on December 20, while the fourth is yet to be installed at the Department of Public Works and Highways compound along EDSA.

The newly installed equipment is capable of measuring pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone, as well as measure meteorological data such as wind speed and direction in real time, with the data available online.

Aside from the four new stations, the DENR has nine other manual monitoring stations distributed throughout Metro Manila to measure TSP levels.

The DENR, through the EMB, has reported that air quality in Metro Manila has improved as evidenced by the declining level of total suspended particulates (TSP), which significantly dropped from an average of 166 micrograms per normal cubic meter (µg/Ncm) at the end of the second quarter of 2010, to 116µg/Ncm as of the third quarter of this year.

  

 

The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Davao City has launched a PhP7.4 million political boundary survey project covering the city’s 3rd congressional district.

On hand to grace the launching recently were Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab, City Planning Officer Robert Alabado, representing Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio and DENR regional officials.

DENR-Region 9 Technical Director Felix S. Alicer said the political boundary survey is part of the Cadastral Survey Project which Secretary Ramon Paje has committed to fast track during the Aquino administration.

The survey project, to be undertaken by Geolane Land Consultants, is expected to be finished within 240 calendar days.

Alicer also said that a total of 178 control points or stations shall be set up under the project which shall serve as reference points for all surveys that will conducted in the city and as political boundary monuments.

Of the total, 23 control points shall be installed in Baguio District, 56 in Calinan District, 19 in Marilog District, 42 in Toril District, and 38 in Tugbok District.

Rep. Ungab expressed gratitude to the DENR for prioritizing his congressional district for the project, noting that there was never a clear delineation of boundaries among the different barangays in Calinan District.

“This undertaking of the DENR is very timely, and it will surely propel development because by then each of the barangay will be able to collect appropriate real property taxes from owners,” Ungab said. He also stressed that the survey will address boundary conflicts among neighboring barangays.

Alabado, on the other hand, conveyed Mayor Duterte’s directive urging all barangay officials to cooperate with the DENR, underscoring the importance of the boundary survey in the determination of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for each of the barangays. There are 82 barangays comprising the third congressional district.

He also thanked the DENR for the project as the local government has no budget for political boundary surveys. “We are lucky that the DENR has allocated funds for the activity,” he said.